E3: Dungeon Siege Impressions
While all of the hype over in the Microsoft camp has been for the XBox, there's certainly a lot more being put out by the software giant than console titles. One of their more high profile titles is Dungeon Siege, being produced by Chris Taylor (of Total Annihilation fame) and Gas Powered Games.
Dungeon Siege is an action RPG set in a fairly typical fantasy world. What's not so typical is the environment itself - it's fully three dimensional, continuous world. While exploring, you'll never have to wait while a new area loads. The environments are very well detailed with realistic looking scenery, including some incredible looking water and terrain - when crossing a bridge, I realized I was over a pit so deep I couldn't see the bottom. Enemy and character models are also well animated, and little touches like arrows sticking into their targets (and remaining during the battle) make the game quite graphically pleasing.
From sitting down with the game for a little while, it looks like Dungeon Siege will be a lot of fun to play. The interface is rather simple, with the mouse controlling movement and the camera, and keyboard shortcuts help things along. I was impressed to note that when I drank a healing potion, I didn't use up the whole thing - my character only drank what was necessary, leaving the rest for later use.
The characters also display a suprising amount of autonomy. When enemies were within attack range, my character automatically began attacking the weakest one, often eliminating them before I needed to intervene. Useful items are picked up off the ground automatically.
Overall, it looks like Dungeon Siege has what it takes to be a serious contender for the PC action RPG throne. If Gas Powered Games can deliver a solid story with their already solid game engine, gamers will have a lot to look forward to.
Dungeon Siege is being projected for an early fall release.